Sea Shell Craft Ideas: How To Make A Shell Wreath

Sea shell craft ideas: make your own shell wreath for the beach house or suburban home, right down to gathering your own shells!

Making an elegant shell wreath for your front door or bathroom is not nearly as difficult as it looks. You will need a few things to get started. First, a plain straw or grapvine wreath from your local craft store. A glue gun is pretty much a necessity, and you will need seashells of course!

Shells can be gathered from the beach or bought at a craft store. I try to collect my own as the storebought ones tend to be a bit expensive. Some of you will not live in an area where shells can be readily found, though, so you will need to buy them or take a vacation to an ocean-side town. For a wilder, sea swept look, use plain clam shells and mussel shells, mixed in with a few snail shells. If you plan to decorate with a more tropical theme, you can use more exotic shells like conches and anything available on tropical beaches. A tip: See if you can bring a bag of them home when you vacation in the tropics.

If you gather your own shells, lay them out in a sunny spot for a few weeks to dry out, otherwise you will have a horrible smell permeating your home! Once they have dried out thoroughly, the shells are ready for use. If you prefer, they can be dipped in shellac and allowed to dry before use. This will give the shells a shiny finish that is quite lovely.

Ok, so now you have your shells, it's time to get them onto the wreath. Choose a point at the center, bottom of the wreath and work your way out from it. Glue on the largest shells first and then fill in with smaller ones. Finish up with the tiniest of all, little snail shells or minute clam shells. When using the glue gun to stick the shells on, put dabs of glue around the edges of the seashells.

When you have finished and the wreath is looking the way you like it, you can add a raffia bow at the top or glue on sprigs of dried seaweed and pebbles to add to the seaside effect. Also, any bits of interesting things you find on the beach can be incorporated into the wreath, pieces of polished glass, crab claws, and brightly colored pieces of plastic and driftwood twigs.

Another idea is to use deep seaweed green raffia and wrap it around the wreath, over the shells, in a sort of twist, finishing with a bow at the bottom of the wreath.

To get the fisherman look, add some rough net behind the hole of the wreath and intertwine bits of seaweed, crab claws, starfish and sea horses into it. You'll end up with a lovely wreath perfect for a grandfather or brother.

For another fun variation, try using watercolor paints on the shells. This is a good project for kids. If you inspect the shells closely, you will notice they have tiny ridges that curve with the shape of the shell. Take your paints and water down the brush. Sweep the brush through the color and paint it onto the shell, following the ridges. You can continue in the same color or do a graduated wash or even stripes, if so desired. The idea is to keep muted tones that just barely give a hint of color to the sea shell.

These wreaths make wonderful gifts and fit in equally well at the beach house or your mountain home.

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